Earlier this month, Google has announced a new way to give your website a minor ranking boost and that is through HTTPS or adding a SSL 2048-bit key certificate on your site.
Although it helps with boosting ranks, Google implied that this has only very small benefits only counting as a “very lightweight signal” within the overall ranking algorithm.
According to Google says it has an impact on “fewer than 1% of global queries” but said there is a possibility that they “may decide to strengthen” the signal because Google wants to “encourage all website owners to switch from HTTP to HTTPS to keep everyone safe on the web.”
At the SMX West, Google’s head of search spam, Matt Cutts has expressed his desire to make SSL as a ranking factor in Google’s algorithm. After five months, what he said he wanted was finally made reality by Google.
Websites like MOZ has already released some SEO tips for SSL. Below are the SEO advantages of switching to HTTPS.
- More referrer data
- HTTPS as a rankings boost
- Security and privacy
There are, of course, challenges to overcome with HTTPS:
- Mistakes happen
- Speed issues
- Not everything is ready for HTTPS
There are also some concerns with regards to this change. You need to take the proper steps to ensure your traffic doesn’t suffer. You need to make sure to communicate to Google that you moved your site from HTTP to HTTPS.
Google promises to release more documentation in the future, but for now has provided the following tips:
- Decide the kind of certificate you need: single, multi-domain, or wildcard certificate
- Use 2048-bit key certificates
- Use relative URLs for resources that reside on the same secure domain
- Use protocol relative URLs for all other domains
- Check out our site move article for more guidelines on how to change your website’s address
- Don’t block your HTTPS site from crawling using robots.txt
- Allow indexing of your pages by search engines where possible. Avoid the noindex robots meta tag.
So, should you be concerned so much with changing HTTP to HTTPS site for SEO purposes? Below are some reactions of people on this Google announcement about making SSL a ranking factor.
for the record, there's about 100 things you could do right now that would have a bigger SEO impact than switching to SSL.
— Ryan Jones (@RyanJones) August 7, 2014
I wonder how many people at Google today are laughing at everyone ready to jump through hoops again. Next “Now we want floating snowflakes."
— Melissa Fach (@SEOAware) August 7, 2014
The information on my site wouldn't change if it were switched to https, so should https really be a ranking signal?
— Bill Slawski (@bill_slawski) August 7, 2014
Should have invested in the SSL company instead of sinking all my money into that lousy Google authorship photo service.
— Cyrus Shepard (@CyrusShepard) August 7, 2014
If you need help in applying a site wide SSL to your website, please let us know, we can help you.